A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Monday, April 30, 2012

From Past To Present

(Click on the pictures to enlarge them.)

I found these photographs not too long ago.  They were taken in approximately 1979 when I was 17 years old.  In the top photograph I am the one smiling on the left side with the short dark hair, the pea coat, dark skirt and the fry boots.  My best friend, whom I'm calling Colette, is on the right side looking up, wearing the hat, the light colored skirt and a pair of her favorite cream colored cowboy boots.  The girl in the middle was more of a friend to Colette than to me, but I liked her.  These photographs were taken by someone from our high school and the second photograph I think was used in our year book.  Unfortunately, I've long since lost that yearbook, but miraculously these photographs, along with a few others, have survived.

This was our senior year and it was around this time that Colette and I, after having been very close for a couple of years, began to move apart from each other and you can see this a bit in our body language.  In two of the photographs we are separated by the girl in the middle and in the other photograph we are each in our own world with only Colette making eye contact with the photographer.  You wouldn't know that Colette and I had been good friends from these pictures.  There's no hugging or leaning against one another or even eye contact.  And in the last photograph I have my back to the camera.

I love the way Colette looks in these pictures.  By this time she was both a talented modern dancer and a good actress and so she was perceptive, a good mimic, quick and expressive.  Here she's dressing in a typical Colette outfit -- the long skirt or sometimes dress, the boots and the hat.  I, on the other hand, am not dressed typically here.  I rarely wore skirts or dresses or my boots.  My uniform was more pants, t-shirt, a man's black jacket, Adidas basketball sneakers.  Colette dressed nicely whereas I dressed down.  In the City, especially on the subways, I didn't want to draw attention to myself and so I became more androgynous in my look.

The reason I'm posting these pictures, other than giving a few of my friends a chance to see me way back when, is because I decided to reach out to Colette by sending her a link to this blog.  I discovered her online about 3 years ago, gathered up several juicy tidbits of information about her, marveled at her success in life and felt badly about myself in comparison to her.  I also felt badly that I didn't fight to keep her as a friend because she was a really great friend to me.  And then there's my memory which is good in spots and not so good in other spots, probably due to the schizophrenia.

I talked to my friend Rita about contacting Colette by giving Colette a link to my blog.  Rita suggested that maybe I should write her an email first and get to know her a little and not spring all this stuff of mine on her.  I thought about it and tried writing yet another email (I've written a couple that I never sent), but it didn't feel right.  I would rather open myself up to Colette, have her do her own investigation of my blog, artwork and music, in her own time, at her own pace.  I also want her to know that she's under no obligation to renew our friendship.  I know she's a  busy woman with a full life and she may not have the feelings for me that I still have for her.

I want her to know that though I haven't had her success in life, I have been creative and thoughtful.  At least I have something to share with her.  I know that I am making myself vulnerable before her, but I see that as a form of respect.  I hope she enjoys some of what she finds.
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